A Travellerspoint blog

Impromptu trip to Matheran

Beautiful hill station near Mumbai

An impromptu trip to Matheran was a delight during hectic schedule of official trip. I and my friends went to Mumbai for some project work where we got a free weekend against all odds. Since it was the first time when three of us were together deployed to Mumbai, we decided to make the best of it.

On Sunday morning we woke up sharp 6 o’clock in morning and were all set to explore Matheran.

We reached Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus to catch morning fast local to Neral (Nearest Local station to Matheran). It is the fastest mode of transportation to reach Neral from Mumbai. On arriving we took a sharing cab at Rs 80 per person. It took us 40 minutes to reach Matheran from Neral. Since we left quite early from hotel, we were damn hungry. So first thing first; we searched for a place to eat. There aren’t many options available at taxi stand. So we ate Misal Pav (Buns served with Curry & Namkeen) at small dhaba.

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We purchased entry tickets (Rs 50 each for adult) and headed forward. Now there were two options for sightseeing. Option-1:Hiking. Trek along the abandoned railway track and hilly terrain. Option-2: Horse riding. Package for sightseeing are like 12 spots in Rs 1000 or 5 spots in Rs 500.

We chose to hike to have a better glimpse of picture perfect Matheran and embrace the natural beauty of place. Walking along the railway track was truly adventurous with steep slope on one side. We stopped at many spots, clicked pictures, had lots of fun and arrived at the market area in about 2 hours. Matheran has small market where one can buy famous Chikki, Imli goli, Jelly candies etc for near and dear ones. I myself bought some for my home.

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Place also had lots of eatery options. We had lunch at one of the restaurants. We were again recharged and headed to explore more. We covered Khandala Point, Louisa Point, Charlotte Lake, Echo Point and Madhavji Point. View from Khandala point and Echo Point was enthralling. We spent some time by lake side. Although the place would have looked much more beautiful in monsoons with lushgreen forest all around.

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Totally exhausted we returned to market by 4:15PM and had some snacks. After that we left for taxi station to catch a cab for Neral. We took local for CST at 6:45pm and reached hotel around 8:30pm, all covered in Red mud from head to toe due to Matheran expedition. It took mumma's scolding and three rounds of washing machine to clean those red mud stains from the clothes.. :) ;)

Posted by sheetal.goel 09:46 Archived in India Tagged matheran Comments (0)

Divine Amritsar

Amritsar, historically known as Ramdaspur, is home to Sikkhism's holiest shrine, the splendid Golden Temple.

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I visited Amritsar and Wagah Border in April, 2014 with my family. We arrived in Amritsar at 7am and took an auto to the prebooked Hotel Robin which is located adjacent to the Jallianwala Bagh and at walking distance from the Golden Temple. Stay was quiet comfortable and hotel staff was polite.

After freshing up we booked an auto for full day sight seeing. We first visited Lal devi mandir, a lesser known but a nice place to visit. Outside temple, we had delicious cholla Puri for breakfast and headed towards our next destination The Durgiana temple. To our surprise we first thought that we have arrived at Golden temple, but later on realized that this temple is a small replica of Golden Temple.

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Thereafter, we went to Jallianwala Bagh. It houses a memorial of national importance, established in 1951 to commemorate the massacre by British occupying forces of peaceful celebrators including unarmed women and children, on the occasion of the Punjabi New Year on April 13, 1919 in the Jallianwala Bagh Masaccare.

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Golden temple is at walking distance from Jalianwala Bagh. It is actually just a small part of this huge gurdwara complex, known to Sikhs as Harmandir Sahib (or Darbar Sahib). More shrines and monuments are dotted around the edge of the compound. At the southeast end of the compound is the Guru-Ka-Langar , where we had prasad at lunch time after praying at the Golden temple. Food is free for all. But a donation is appropriate and help with the staggering pile of washing up is always appreciated! Catering to everyone from paupers to millionaires, it's a humbling demonstration of the Sikh principle of hospitality.

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At 3PM we hired another auto for Wagah Border to witness the closing 'lowering of the flag' cermony. Being an Indian it's a life time experience to see the atmosphere filled with patriotism, everyone chanting "Vande Matram" and "Bharat mata ki Jai", blustering parade by the soldiers of both sides, and perfectly coordinated lowering of the two nations' flags.

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With this our sight seeing came to an end and we returned back to the hotel by 7PM where we had dinner. I departed for Delhi the same night while my parents left for my home town next morning. I came back home with the beautiful memories of the shrine and wagah border and joined office the same day

Posted by sheetal.goel 09:02 Archived in India Tagged amritsar Comments (0)

Fascinating Coral Walk @ Narara Marine National Park

Coral walk at India's first Marine National Park, Gulf of Kutch

The most surprising and unplanned visit to India's first marine national park was really fascinating and a lifetime experience. I was on official trip to Jamnagar, where we got half day off due to Ganesh Chaturthi festival. Since we didn't have much time to travel, we decided to visit the fascinating world of corals at The Narara Marine National Park in the Gulf of Kutch. It was a 60km drive from Jamnagar city and we reached there by 8:00 AM. Park was officially closed at that time. But on our request the park authorities allowed us to visit it with guide. Since park was officially closed in September and there were only 5 of us, it seemed to be a No man's land. The exotic view of sandy land and mangrove swamps was truly amazing..

Starting our coral walk
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First white crab spotted
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Narara national park is one of the rare places in the world where one can look at corals without diving down into the water. We walked in about 1 to 2 feet of water for 3-4 hours and explored the underwater world of corals. There are 4 tides in a day at Narara. High tides occurs every 12 hours and the best time to do coral walk is in the dry spell between 2 high tides. Then you can have chance to spot Puffer fish, sea anemones, octopus, star fish, crabs, ray fish, colorful corals, sea turtles etc.

Firm grip of crab
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Green Sea Anemone
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Live Red corals
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Crab
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Moon Corals
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Sea anemone
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Star fish
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Octopus
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Star fishes
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Puffer fish acting like dead
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Since we reached park at appropriate time so we were lucky to spot most of them. It was a great feeling to see colorful corals. Our guide was very knowledgeable and he helped us to pick many species of crabs, octopus, puffer fish, star fish etc in our hands. We played with sea anemones and watched them disappear as soon as we touched them. Puffer fishes were so adorable yet poisonous. They acted like dead whenever we were around them. Sea became visible after two hours of walk. We spent some quiet time at shore line. Then we headed back towards our parked car.

Sea shore (Arabian Sea)
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Sea shore (Arabian Sea)
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Sea shore (Arabian Sea)
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Puffer fish
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Mangrove Swamps
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Orange Female Crab

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The whole experience of coral walk at Narara island was awesome. It was like you have heard about something astonishing for years and then suddenly you get a chance to actually experience the whole thing yourself. The short trip to Narara National park should be on your bucket list whenever you visit Gujarat next time.

Posted by sheetal.goel 10:25 Archived in India Tagged landscapes beaches walk coral Comments (0)

Flying into the past: Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur

Blue City, Jodhpur


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Mighty Mehrangarh, the muscular fort that towers over the Blue City of Jodhpur, is a magnificent spectacle and an architectural masterpiece. Around Mehrangarh’s base, the old city, a jumble of blue cubes, stretches out to the 10km-long, 16th-century city wall. Traditionally, blue color signifies homes to Brahmins and that's why it was once called Brahmpuri.

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The best way to explore the impregnable Mehrangarh Fort is my way that is the SKY WAY.

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"Shall I tell you the best thing about Jodhpur? It's the zipwires that send you like Batman around the moats and the crenellations. It's stunning" - Boris Johnson, Mayor of London.

Glide over the myriad landscapes of the fort with the Zip line tour guided by Flying Fox. Fly high over the outer battlements of Rajasthan's most majestic fortress, glide serenely over two desert lakes, trek through the Rao Jodha eco-park and enjoy the best view of Mehrangarh and the Blue City of Jodhpur. With Flying Fox, you get to see the view that most tourists miss! So get ready for the sensational Dark Knight experience with most spectacular and iconic zip lines while flying over the lakes.

Because "AWESOME" is the verdict of those who dare.-Lonely Planet

Traveler's tip: 1. Don't forget to take your student I-cards along with you. Flying fox offers great Student's discount on Zipping tour.
2. If you are employed in any Govt. office, prebook your zipping tour atleast three days in advance to avail corporate discount.

Posted by sheetal.goel 01:27 Archived in India Tagged forts Comments (0)

Universal Studios, Singapore: Hollywood Extravaganza

An ultimate Hollywood experience!!!


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Get ready for the ultimate Hollywood experience!!

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Universal Studios, Singapore is a full day action-packed family entertainment package: thrilling shows, heart-pounding rides, a real movie studio, death defying stunts live-in action, Steven Spielberg's hosted Special Effects show and much more. It's overwhelming to see and experience the best of Hollywood all together at one place.

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Since one day isn't enough to visit entire Universal Studios, so here I am suggesting the best in the list. Rest of the attractions can be missed if time doesn't permits but don't miss the following ones:
1. Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure @ Jurassic Park**

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2. Canopy Flyer @ Jurassic Park

3. Water World Show @ Jurassic Park**

4. A Crate Adventure @ Madagascar

5. Shrek 4-D adventure @ Far far away
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6. Revenge of the Mummy (Indoor roller coaster)**
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7. Lights, Camera, Action: Hosted by Steven Spielberg**
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8. The Cruisers show outside Mel's Drive-In
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9. Transformers the Ride: The Ultimate 3D Battle @ Sci-Fi city**
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10. Battle star Galactica (BSG) roller coaster @ Sci-Fi city
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11. The Rockafellas @ Newyork
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**Best of the best. Cannot be missed at any cost.

Expert tip: If you are visiting Universal Studios on a weekend, enter the rides as a Single Rider to avoid long queues. Only then you'll be able to cover maximum attractions.

Posted by sheetal.goel 22:58 Archived in Singapore Tagged buildings children parks Comments (0)

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